Root Canals (Endodontics)
Treating a Dead Tooth
Everyone is afraid of the dreaded root canal! Aside from what most people believe, there is typically no pain associated with a root canal procedure. Root canals are usually performed in order to alleviate the patient's pain. Root canal treatment is a procedure performed when the tooth is dead and there is infection in the nerve and surrounding bone, or if the tooth is very painful. Teeth can lose vitality if there has been a traumatic injury to the tooth, cutting off its blood supply. A root canal treatment is most often needed when there is a large amount of decay present in the tooth. If the decay in the tooth is not treated in time with a filling, the decay can progress to the nerve, or pulp, of the tooth. The decay is filled with bacteria so when the decay reaches the nerve, bacteria enters the pulp of the tooth and causes an infection. It is very important to remove this infection because it can spread through the tooth and into the surrounding bone and tissues. When the surrounding tissues get infected, the face and neck can swell and can become very serious requiring antibiotics.
The treatment involves cleaning out the internal portion of the tooth where the nerve is and removing any infectious debris. The tooth is then filled with an inert material that seals all the canals from any communication between the tooth and the mouth If a tooth needing root canal therapy is not treated, besides the spread of infection, the tooth will likely become painful and eventually need to be removed.
If a tooth is painful, it doesn't necessarily mean it needs root canal treatment. It is important to see the dentist to determine the cause of the pain as it may be caused by several things including a crack in the tooth, grinding your teeth too hard, or a cavity.
For more information on the dental procedures offered by our dentists, Contact Riverside Heights Dental in Surrey BC.